James W. Cheshire

Profile Updated: July 15, 2022
Residing In: Stockton, CA
Occupation: Retired Kaiser RN
Children: Adam Colin born on May 24, 1977-Bob Dylan's Birthday!
Military Service: Navy  

Code Blues will be rocking the big tent on September 14th; hope to see you there!

School Story:

These are my Top Ten personal musical memories of Napa. It's sort of in a rough chronological order and purely subjective on my part:

This was the first band I remember playing sock-hops when I was still in 7th Grade at Redwood Jr. High in 1964. They sort of fell under the radar, then resurfaced a few years later as "ROCKWELL". Later, I actually joined them during the summer of '68. We practiced in Yountville in a wine cellar that later became part of Vintage 1870. There were always a bunch of people that were there listening to us. But the guys in the band were all older, and I got nervous about some of the "adult" things that they were into, so I exited, stage left. Not too long after, I got a call from a guy in SF who said he had seen me play and and wanted me to join their band. I told him that I was still in High School,, and he said "Dude! Quit!" I decided to turn down that offer. He said that his band's name was "Blues Image". All I know, is that later a band by that name had a top-ten hit, "Ride, Captain, Ride."

You don't remember this? All right, they weren't actually here, physically. I'm talking about the debut of "A Hard Day's Night." I walked down to the Uptown to get my advance ticket, then walked down again that Saturday and stood in line for hours. It was like a Beatles concert, complete with girls in the audience screaming. It was a day I'll never forget.

My first band, with Cecil Huber(Lead Guitar), Jim Reardon (Rhythm Guitar), and Gene Herdrich(Drums). Paul Durbin, Larry Conkright, and Carl Brian had been in the band before me. They needed a Bass player/singer. All I needed was a bass guitar. Mike Stumley was our "manager"; our first "gig" was a party at his house. We always started out with "Time Won't Let Me" by the Outsiders.

They were THE band in Napa. I remember the first time I saw them in 10th Grade, I just stood there, amazed. Carl Ontis singing "Signed, D.C." and "Dirty Old Man"....I was blown away. Then Carl left, and a couple of years later this exchange student from Denmark with an Afro and a bag of harmonicas took over the group and turned Project Hope into a kick-ass blues band. That was Lee Oskar, who later became an integral part of the group WAR.

I think this was '66 Homecoming? They hadn't put out an album yet; I'm sure that the adults who approved it probably had conniptions when they saw these "hippies" but it was too late. I thought it was great!

My next band. Greg Miller was an amazingly talented guitarist and singer, so Cecil Huber switched to a Farfisa organ. Jim Reardon was also in it, with Larry Silverman on Drums. We were good enough to get sponsored(with equipment) from a music store, but then it turned out the owner wanted to be more than friends with us, if you know what I mean, so we lost that. We played all over, had a lot of fun. We were the "house" band at a place called "The Teen Club" on Main St. One day the manager told us she was thinking about booking a band that had recently played in Vallejo and was supposed to be good. We had never heard of them, but we ragged on them anyway, and told her that no band with a stupid name like the "Golliwogs" could be any good. She took our advice. Oh, yeah, later the Golliwogs changed their name to Creedence Clearwater Revival. After I got out of the Navy, Greg, Larry, and I got together as a Jazz Combo called the "Ozone Trio" with Greg on piano as well as guitar. Greg passed away at a very young age; what a shame!

The Grateful Dead; Big Brother and the Holding Company(Janis Joplin wore the same pant suit that she wore at the Monterrey Pop Festival); Quicksilver; Blue Cheer(they were so loud I thought my ears were going to bleed); The "Phony" Moby Grape; so many more, but by far the most infamous was#3:

These idiots from the college used to get drunk every weekend and go around looking for "hippies" to hassle. They had harassed my band a couple of times and one time busted my head open. So they were at this concert and waited for the band to come out for their second set and one of them sucker-punched Bruce Barthol, the bass player for the Fish. They could have just packed up, but they stayed and finished the concert. Of course, nothing ever happened to these guys, until...one night we were packing up after playing a gig at the Teen Club. These same thugs busted in and started hassling us. What they didn't know was that there was another band that had played that night; I don't remember the name of the band, but they were college kids from Santa Rosa. They were back stage when they heard the commotion and came out and starting fighting with these guys! They had a friend with them who had a hook on one arm; he got one of the thugs in a headlock and starting waving that hook in front of his face, and the guy was screaming! They took off and never bothered us again. I told the guys in the FISH about this via e-mail years later, and they got a kick out of it. By the way, on their second album, there was an insert called "The Fish Game"; it was a board game that featured various locales around the Bay Area; if you got to Napa, it said "You Lose. Game Over! "

I know this is not strictly a "Napa memory" but so many of the bands that played down there also came up to our little burg, including, for a while, the Dream Bowl. Probably the Fillmore concert that I look back on with the greatest reverence had the Byrds as the Headliner. But David Crosby had just quit the band and they just didn't make it as a 3-piece. The 2nd act was the Electric Flag, and I was blown away by their horns, and Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites and Buddy Miles. The 3rd bill was someone few of us had ever heard of. He had performed mostly in clubs, and was anxious about how he would be received by a mostly-white audience. I'm talking about B.B. King, and we all went away that night knowing that our lives would never be the same.

This was a band that I was in my Senior year; Rex Kelly on drums, Mike Tiffany(from Vallejo) on Lead guitar, Me on bass, and the late Steve Rodriguez on rhythm guitar. We played mostly high school dances, but we also auditioned and got booked as a back-up band to play at the Dream Bowl with Santana, I believe. But like a lot of things, it fell through,and there were no more concerts at the Dream Bowl. I was very sad to learn that Steve had passed away. I saw him at a 60's reunion gig that I did at the fairgrounds in the 90's and was looking forward to seeing him again.

James W.'s Latest Interactions

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James W. Cheshire posted a message. New comment added.
Aug 05, 2022 at 7:46 PM

Posted on: Aug 05, 2022 at 4:16 PM

Code Blues is back after almost 3 years! I had to shut down the band after our Reunion to take care of my wife, and then Covid changed everything. We're still raising money for the homeless; I posted a ton of videos from our last gig. Look for the "Jim Cheshire" YouTube channel that has the band's picture. Check it out and see for yourself if we still have the chops to rock our next reunion(2024?).

Jul 15, 2022 at 11:41 AM
Oct 16, 2019 at 1:06 PM

I did receive my CD on Monday! Yes, it does bring back some OLD memories and some new ones from the reunion. Thanks so much!!

James W. Cheshire posted a message. New comment added.
Jul 16, 2022 at 9:12 AM

Posted on: Oct 08, 2019 at 12:39 PM

Feeling that post-reunion letdown? The hot new CD "Code Blues Salutes Napa High School Class of 1969" will help you relive the fun of our reunion. Want one? It's free! Email me your mailing address to jamescheshire@softcom.net; that way I can keep track of who wants one and also keep your address private. I'll be sending out about 5 at a time, so patience. It's my gift to the class, but if you're feeling generous you could always make a contribution to the scholarship fund. I'm trying to upload a picture of the CD; if I can't, you can see it on the class's Facebook page.

Sep 27, 2019 at 9:47 AM

Jim, thanks for playing at the Napa High Class of 1969 ~~~50 YEAR CLASS REUNION! Your music choices were really outstanding. I was really happy to dance to your music. Carolyn Ingraham Petersen

James W. Cheshire posted a message. New comment added.
Sep 27, 2019 at 9:50 AM

Posted on: Sep 27, 2019 at 9:30 AM

Last dance at the Reunion....Code Blues playing "Alison" featuring Adam Cheshire on vocals.

James W. Cheshire posted a message. New comment added.
Sep 27, 2019 at 9:51 AM

Posted on: Sep 26, 2019 at 9:12 AM

Another number from the Reunion, "Little Miss Sad." The camera was bouncing because people were dancing!

James W. Cheshire posted a message. New comment added.
Sep 27, 2019 at 9:53 AM

Posted on: Sep 20, 2019 at 8:31 AM

Here's Code Blues opening up with "Be True To Your (Napa High) School. Sorry about the the video getting fuzzy; it was Ok until I uploaded it to YouTube.

James W. Cheshire posted a message. New comment added.
Sep 27, 2019 at 4:33 PM

Posted on: Sep 19, 2019 at 11:33 AM

Check out Lynn Wyckoff bringing down the house at our 50th reunion singing White Rabbit and Somebody To Love with Code Blues! The vocal was too low at first, but stick with it. More to come!

Sep 16, 2019 at 8:23 PM

Posted on: Sep 14, 2019 at 11:47 PM

Your band was great tonight! Thanks so much. Didn’t Quicksilver play in the high school gym? Our senior year?

James W. Cheshire changed "Now" picture.
Aug 29, 2019 at 1:08 PM
James W. Cheshire changed "Then" picture.
Aug 29, 2019 at 1:03 PM
May 14, 2019 at 12:10 PM

It's four months(or 122 days) until our Reunion, but who's counting? Oh right, I am, because my band, Code Blues will be playing. Now, you may be asking yourself, "How did the Class of '69 manage to land a superstar group like Code Blues?" Well, let me tell you, that Paul Durbin is a tough, wily negotiator, but I made him an offer he couldn't refuse: we're doing it for free! I had heard through the grapevine that some classmates were concerned that the ticket prices might be too steep, so we're doing it as our gift to the class to keep the ticket prices reasonable. And if you still think the tickets are a little high, just imagine how high they would be if we had charged our normal fee of one million dollars! I am going to ask one favor of those of you that can afford it: please donate to the class scholarship program. Let's get it up there so that others can share in our good fortune! And please don't forget(like I did) to designate "Class of 1969" on the check; otherwise it will sit around while they try to figure out who or what to credit it to. In the meantime, we'll be practicing some special songs just for the reunion. Hope to see you there!

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Posted: Jan 28, 2014 at 7:12 PM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM
"CODE BLUES" performing on June 29, 2013
Adam Cheshire-Guitar, Vocals
Nathan Couch-Drums, Vocals
Jim Cheshire-Bass, Vocals
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM
"Code Blues" playing at the Brick House in Elk Grove 12/08/11
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM
Adam Cheshire, Jim Cheshire, Tyler Spring
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM